IT’S JUST A NUMBER

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am now 55 years old.  I have no problem telling any and everyone this.  It does not bother me in the least.  In fact, I love to say how old I am.  For one thing, people are usually shocked since they think I am much younger; and secondly, and much more importantly, I have worked really, really hard to make it to 55.  I cannot understand the reluctance of some people to admit how old they are.  And why is it such a big deal anyway?  We, as a society, definitely like to categorize everything:  female, male, straight, gay, black, white, young, not-so-young.  Personally, I do not like the term middle-aged, mainly because it has such a derogatory connotation.  And, really, you don’t know when you were ‘middle-aged’ until you die.  It’s like, once you are past, oh, 40 or so, life ends.  Really?  REALLY?  No, I don’t think so.  Such a big deal is made about ‘thinking outside the box,’ so why do we put people in boxes by defining them in terms of age?

I remember when I turned 30 and one of my cousins, who is 9 years older, told me that now that I was 30, my body would start to fail me.  At the time, I thought, “well crap.”  Then I thought about it some more and realized that it was he who was full of crap.  It was the most ridiculous thing, I thought, to tell someone.  And why?  Why put a stupid idea into my head?  Luckily, I recognized it for what it was…his experience of life, not mine.

I also know a lot of people, relatives and friends, who would just as soon forget their birthday.  Me, I like to tell everyone, starting 6 months before, on the 9th of December, which is my half-birthday (and Donny Osmond’s actual birthday!)  Then from 9 March, which is 3 months away, then 9 April, 2 months until MY birthday, 9 May, which is my cousin Jennifer’s birthday and 1 month from mine, I tell people.  Not everyone I know, mostly just close friends, but tell I do.  And the actual day, I tell everyone I come in contact with, because it is a celebration of the day I was born, and because you get lots of free stuff if they know it’s your birthday.  I like free stuff!  Who doesn’t?

Yesterday I took the day off from working.  I woke up at 4a, I think, because I was excited.  I met my friend Mike for a walk at 5a, then I went to beach yoga at 8:30a, then a movie at 11:30a (“Aloha” – very cute, with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Bill Murray) and after that lunch at True Food Kitchen.  I received hundreds of birthday wishes from Facebook friends and family members.  As silly as it may be, I love when I am told Happy Birthday.

I am happy to tell you exactly how old I am.  All I ask is not to be put in a preconceived notion box of what our society thinks 55 is.

Below is a picture of me on my 49th birthday at Disneyland:

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